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Attention in Early DevelopmentThemes and Variations$
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Holly Alliger Ruff and Mary Klevjord Rothbart

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195136326

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195136326.001.0001

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Attention in Learning and Performance

Attention in Learning and Performance

(p.155) 9 Attention in Learning and Performance
Attention in Early Development

Holly Alliger Ruff

Mary Klevjord Rothbart

Oxford University Press

Children learn about the objects they attend to and learn best when alert and employing focused attention. Because of the close connection between attention and learning, learning is sometimes used to provide evidence of attention. This chapter describes contributions of attention to discrimination learning, sequence learning and observational learning. It also examines the role of attention in developing motor and cognitive skills. Although orienting skills develop early in infancy, contributing to discrimination and observational learning, development of the second attention system of executive control appears necessary for learning complex sequences. During learning, limited attentional resources are available for other learning and performance. With practice, however, skills become automatic and can be used as components for developing more complex skills as well as systematic problem-solving.

Keywords:   focused attention, discrimination learning, sequence learning, observational learning, limited capacity, practice, effort, problem-solving

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